Over the summer, unable to travel, I decided to spend some time looking at Roman documents. I have already done some sessions for primary schools on literacy in the Roman Empire as part of our outreach programme, and I wanted to have a go at creating some Roman inspired documents.
The first one I completed was a birth certificate. The text is modelled after an original on wax tablets from Alexandria. I decided to write one for Flavia Gemina, the main character in the Roman Mysteries (a favourite of my daughter’s), using the proper Roman dating method. It identifies the year by the reigning emperor and the names of the consuls. Dates are numbered by the number of days before the next “principal” day (Kalends, Nones or Ides). I was pleased with the experiment, and thought Flavia’s creator, Caroline Lawrence, would like the result, so I sent it to her.
My second undertaking was a bit more extreme. I produced a scroll of Book V of Josephus’ Jewish Wars, which includes the account of the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD. It took about 40 hours to complete, required 45 sheets of papyrus, and comprised 105 columns of text. The scroll is 11m35cm long.
Written by Mr Geering.